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Purple Porch Co-op adds curbside pickup, at-risk shopping hours during pandemic

NOW: Purple Porch Co-op adds curbside pickup, at-risk shopping hours during pandemic

SOUTH BEND, Ind.—Purple Porch Co-op shoppers can now get their grocery orders without stepping foot inside of the building. 

“You can go online, you can type in what you want and our employee will call you when your order is gathered and ready to go,” said Front Retail Manager Kristy Robinson. “And you can also do a call-in order.”

Customers can then pull up next to the store on Hill Street in South Bend and an employee will bring the order out.

The new curbside service is just one of the changes that the co-op has had to make in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Anytime any employee is in store, they are required to wear a mask and gloves at all times. We are encouraging social distancing just like every other business,” Robinson said.

The co-op has also replaced its temporarily closed down kitchen and homemade items with products like handmade masks and hand sanitizer from local distiller, Indiana Whiskey Company.

“It’s been really really popular, people are asking us to set bottles aside for them,” Robinson said.

Every Wednesday morning from 8 to 10 a.m., individuals who are older, have underlying health conditions, or are immuno-compromised can take advantage of the store’s at-risk shopping hours.

The co-op offers a long list of groceries and essential items, many of which come from local farmers and producers, so sales made puts money right back into the community.

“Keep your dollars and your money invested in our local economy. The farmer we buy our eggs from could be somebody who lives in your neighborhood and has a farm down the road,” said Purchasing Manager Heather Smith.

Employees working the frontlines inside of the store are also seeing a little extra something added to their paychecks right now.

“For the people who are here working, we’re offering them something called pandemic pay, which is an extra dollar amount on top of what they’re already making,” Robinson said. “They’re risking their lives, they’re frontline workers.”

While the store has changed its policy to only allow 12 people inside at a time, Purple Porch Co-op is currently open with its normal hours of operation.

The co-op’s weekly market is still taking place and as the weather gets warmer, it will move outdoors next to the building. Vendors are selling products including vegetables and bread from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. 

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